Welcome to the Autumn term 2015

Welcome to the Autumn term.

I hope that you had a great Summer holiday, despite the recent weather. As usual we have a lot coming up, even if the term does seem to be a rush towards Christmas with a poppy stop on the way. Check our online calendar (on the right of this page) for more detail about each week’s programme.

Leaders & helpers
In case you missed the news last term we’re delighted to be welcoming Baloo (Steph) and Keego (Gemma) to our team as Pack Assistants. This term also sees my one year anniversary of becoming a leader – where has that time gone?
With our strengthened team we’ve decided not to have a formal parent rota this term. We’re grateful to those that helped us last term and hope that we’ll still see you at our meetings. We’ve got a few weeks that will still need extra helpers but I’ll ask for volunteers instead of allocating. If you see a week or activity that you’d fancy getting involved in then do ask – remember that Cubs is not just kid’s stuff.

We know that the start of term can be an expensive time which is why we don’t ask you to pay your Subs immediately. However, last term we had a few people that forgot completely and had to be chased. A few of you have asked if there is any way of being able to look up to see what you have paid. We can’t think of how to do that without you being able to see data for other people which we don’t think would be quite right. However, we have a new logging system for money so should be able to easily tell you what you have paid.
We’ve had a discussion to see if we should continue to give the £10 Easyfundraising reward that we set against a full term subs payment (now £35). Donations using Easyfundraising are down this year and we know that many who have registered have not actually raised as much as £10. We’d encourage you to remember us when you shop online and are pleased to confirm that the £10 reward will remain this term for our supporters who pay their subs by half term. If you haven’t already signed up then do visit www.easyfundraising.org.uk/parbrookcubs so that you can claim your discount.
Remember that you can pay us via Internet Banking if you use that facility. We’ll send you our bank details in the confirmation message that you get from Groupspaces when you register to tell us which Subs category you will be paying this term.

New badges and challenges
We had warned you that change was on the way and it has now arrived. There is a separate page about that and our badges and awards link is updated for the new badges. We’re still getting our heads around them so do bear with us. We have a few of the old challenge badges left so if you are close to completing one please finish it by the end of September.

Events in the Summer term
It was great to see so many of you at our end of term evening at Nowhurst in July. The weather was kind to us although the time always races by and there was not much time for campfire songs. Photos from the evening are available via our reports page.
Although the weather was a bit tricky at times we had a great time on Summer Camp at Bentley Copse. It was lovely to be able to camp for the whole week again and we hope that those who came along enjoyed themselves. We had over 600 photos from the camp to process but have managed to condense them into our Summer Camp report. We discovered that we charged too much for those who camped for the full week. You are entitled to a £20 refund which we hope you’ll accept as a credit towards your Autumn term subs.

Events this term
We’ve published our programme for the term. There are still a few weeks that we need to confirm but we’ll keep our online calendar up to date of any changes. In our pack meetings this half of term we’ll be looking at disabilities and science. We’re reintroducing our half term trip to the woods (in the dark of course). After half term we have our usual good turn for the British Legion as we count the poppy money. Then it is downhill all the way to Christmas as we have another of our 4-packs – 4 weeks, 4 activities, all about Christmas.

Weekend camp, 25-27 September
Our French weekend is fast approaching. Although we advertised it at the end of last term we have not had many names so far. We hope that more of you will want to come on our last tent camp of the year. Go to events > French weekend camp for more information and reserve your place via Groupspaces.

We’re still waiting for more information from 1st Billingshurst before we can tell you about the Group Day (19 September), Remembrance Sunday and the Carol Service (13 December).

Join our team
I’m always grateful for the support that we get from you, the Cub parents. Whether it is taking kit to camp or helping out in a busy pack meeting I know that the support is available when I need it. Everybody has skills that we can use and we’d like to make the best of them. We call it Team Parbrook.
We want to make sure that Parbrook remains the best Cub pack in the area but can only do that with your help. It was only when I joined the pack a year ago that saw just how much work goes on behind the scenes to provide our pack meetings and camps. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about how to get more involved, even if you can’t help us every week. Our join us page has some ideas of roles that are available – they aren’t all as a uniformed leader.

Painless fundraising
I do seem to go on a lot about our painless fundraising but hopefully you’ll have spotted the real difference it makes to the running of our pack as we continue to do more for less. It is only by using this extra income that we are able to reduce your contribution to subs by £10 a term, to continue to subsidise our camps and expeditions and to invest in new equipment for the pack – such as our new blue tent that we used at Summer Camp. We all benefit – but only if you help us by raising the money in the first place.
By shopping online (via www.easyfundraising.org.uk/parbrookcubs) you can raise money for us at no extra cost. With over 3000 online shops to choose from there is something for everybody. You won’t remember them all so download the “donation reminder” toolbar and you’ll never miss a commission again. You can also download the iphone/ipad app if you have one of those (Android app thankfully launching soon). Don’t forget that you can now be a fundraising hero if you visit Caffe Nero. Just register your payment card in advance on our Easyfundraising site so that we can earn 5% commission on all you buy in store. Thanks to everybody already supporting us this way. While the donations stay with Parbrook Cubs for us to use, the group also benefits as it can claim back Gift Aid on our donations (if you ticked that box when you registered).

As ever, please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about our activities.

Nick Wainewright, Akela